YMCA faces thousands in earthquake damages, closes Lake Otis gym

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - A large padlock and closed sign indicates to members the gym at the YMCA's Lake Otis location is out of commission. CEO Larry Parker said the November 30 earthquake caused significant damage to the structure.

"One of the aftershocks you heard it tumbling down a little bit," Parker said about some of the concrete debris dropping from one of the gym's load-bearing walls. It's been about three weeks since any of the aftershocks have caused the wall to move, according to Parker.

"The biggest impact has just been the day-to-day recreational use," he said. Youth and adult basketball leagues have relocated for practices and games. The YMCA has been at its Lake Otis location since the 1970s.

Parker said the walls had a fairly recent paint job. Cracks from the quake caused large lines of the paint to peel, outlining some of the damage.

An engineer has looked at the facility, and Parker said, “Right now we're looking at between $700,000 and $1.2 million. It's a broad range but it depends on if we have to work on the outside and inside walls."

A final number is likely to come from the engineer's report and recommended fixes. The non-profit didn't have earthquake insurance; Parker said even if it had, the deductible would have been more than $2 million.

Each spring the YMCA hosts an annual bike auction in the gym. The fundraiser typically generates $15,000 - $20,000 for the YMCA. It's unclear at this point where the auction will be held this year but Parker said if the weather is nice the organization could have it outside.

Parker said he would like to see the gym reopened by October. Most all of the other areas of the facility are still able to be used for classes and recreational activities.

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